Fibula with a Deer and a Monkey (Main View, front)


The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

A bronze fibula has a long catchplate. The bow is shaped as a four-legged animal, perhaps a young horse, with a monkey riding on its back. The monkey sits with its elbows resting on its knees, which are drawn up, and the hands raised to either side of the face.

Functioning like safety pins, fibulae were used throughout the ancient world for fastening draped garments. Examples with bows in the form of animals were less common, Horses and deer are the most popular subjects for these animal fibulae, and they are frequently ridden by stylized monkeys. The monkey motif (and possibly even the animals themselves) was brought to Italy by Phoenician traders. The figure of a crouching monkey holding its face is widely diffused, and appears on jewelry, amulets, implement handles, and other artifacts. The image occurs frequently in female burial contexts and may be related to childbirth and fertility.


  • Title: Fibula with a Deer and a Monkey (Main View, front)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 700–650 B.C.
  • Location Created: Etruria
  • Physical Dimensions: 3.8 × 7.6 × 2 cm (1 1/2 × 3 × 13/16 in.)
  • Type: Fibula
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 91.AC.20
  • Culture: Etruscan
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Jewelry

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